US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sonic boom aircraft. Cloud forming behind an aircraft as it breaks the sound barrier. As the aircraft moves through the air, an area of low pressure forms behind it. When the pressure of this air parcel falls below the vapour pressure of gaseous water, the water in the air condenses to form the cloud. Different atmospheric conditions cause the phenomenon to occur at different aircraft speeds. This is an American F/A-18 Hornet. Photographed over the Pacific Ocean on 7 July 1999.
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